Brother and sister died together after setting a house fire and locking themselves in
A BROTHER and sister died together after barricading in their home and setting it on fire.
Alan and Linda McGinty could not be rescued, although a neighbor tried to sound the alarm after noticing smoke coming from their shared Bradford property.
The neighbor was unable to get inside before firefighters found Alan, 68, and Linda, 63, unconscious and the couple’s deaths were recorded four minutes apart.
The siblings died of smoke inhalation, an inquest found on Wednesday – a coroner described their loss as a “tragic event involving two lonely people”.
The couple are said to be withdrawn and “turned down” offers of help from social services and healthcare providers.
Arson investigator Neil Griffiths told inquests at Bradford Coroners’ Court how crews called to the scene found “a stack of magazines about a meter high” on the back door.
They were also trash bags piled in most rooms, as well as a “significant amount of hoards in all bedrooms and bathrooms,” he said.
Firefighters were called to the terraced house in Ringwood Road, Bradford at 6.33am on 28 March 2022.
The front door had been locked from the inside with a broken key, the investigation learned.
Ms McGinty lay unconscious on the living room floor while her brother sat in an armchair after a mattress was set on fire.
“There is no evidence as to which sibling started the fires,” Mr Griffiths said.
Police were also present but found no notes or clues as to why the couple might have started the fire, according to Det Insp Suzanne Hall – although crews did find a bottle of lighter fluid, as well as used matches.
Housing association Incommunities had applied for a court order to gain access to the home and was scheduled to visit on March 29, the day after the fire.
The investigation revealed that the couple had previously thrown water at housing officers who were trying to enter the home.
Recording a narrative conclusion, West Yorkshire Assistant Medical Examiner Angela Brocklehurst said: “For that reason, unfortunately, I have no one to express my condolences to.
“But this was a tragic event involving two lonely people looking to escape the society around them.
“Both Alan and Linda couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. There were offers of help, but it’s clear they wanted to turn them down.
“It is a tragedy that in today’s society there are still people in these circumstances.”
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